FREE DAILY MLB PICKS - MAY 16TH
Welcome back to our MLB Free Picks column. Our bet yesterday was rained out - bummer. No worries here though, as the game will be made up today and it appears that the line is even more favorable with the same pitching matchup… more on that later. Also, our NBA pick was on the money, as the Celtics moved one game closer to an improbable NBA Finals appearance by stifling the Cavaliers and allowing us to hit the under.
We’re back at it today and we’re hoping to avoid the rain, as we’ve got two bets for you that both scream “value”. Let’s get into it.
As we explained in our article a couple days ago, we typically like to take underperforming teams and players against overperforming ones early in the season, before the dust has settled on the early season statistical noise. Today we’re going to break that rule when it comes to the pitching matchup, as we’re taking a starter in Tyler Chatwood who has been lucky to post an ERA of 3.35 against a starter in Brandon McCarthy who has been unlucky to have such a high ERA at 5.58.
The reason for us breaking our rule is today’s moneyline, which is currently set at Cubs -102 at BetOnline.ag. While the pitching matchup is closer than the ERAs suggest, Chatwood is still the better pitcher - he has a much higher strikeout rate and can avoid the long ball much better than McCarthy can. Since that is the case, today’s moneyline suggests that the Braves offense is at least on par with the Cubs’, if not better. That statement may have been true through the first 40+ games in 2018, but it's one that we simply cannot agree with moving forward.
While Freddie Freeman is a perennial beast and one of the best hitters in baseball, the remainder of the Braves lineup simply should not be able to maintain their torrid pace. The Braves are currently tied for 1st in offense by wRC+ due in large part to the incredible starts by Ozzie Albies and Nick Markakis. Albies appears to be a very solid building block for the Braves as a 21 year old second baseman, but there’s no chance that he continues to slug .583 or anywhere close to it. His highest slugging percentage for any one minor league season was .467 in AA - still solid for a middle infielder, but not anything like what he’s done so far. Similarly, Nick Markakis has never had a slugging percentage over .491 in his 12 year career - I don’t expect him to finish this year with the .524 SLG he’s currently posting in his age-34 season.
The Cubs are sitting at 7th in wRC+, which seems about right based on their talent, but just imagine where they could be if Anthony Rizzo was hitting like he normally does - Rizzo is currently slashing a paltry .202/.309/.370, not even close to the .273/.385/.521 he’s projected at by Steamer.
We expect the Cubs to end up surpassing the Braves in offense when all is said and done, and they have the edge in the Chatwood-McCarthy pitching matchup. Because of this, getting Cubs -102 seems like a gift from the heavens - I’m not sure there’s been a better value pick all year.
Philadelphia Phillies (Pivetta) -107 at Baltimore Orioles (Cashner)
See yesterday’s column for our reasoning. The odds are even better today!
We’re excited for some daytime baseball on this Wednesday, followed up by the epic Western Conference Finals later tonight. His us up @Lazy_Bets while you’re watching the action and let us know who you’re betting on today.
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Let’s get some wins!